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'Burning' Issue Decided--

Orange Lights Use Decided

Seven solemn men gathered around a table in the T Association Lounge of Gregory Gym Tuesday afternoon to discuss one of the most "burning" issues in University history--when the Tower lights should be orange.

Carl J. Eckhardt, superintendent of University utilities, who had spent five months with two of the men present considering the problem, spent another forty-five minutes explaining his decisions.


Those decisions boil down to this:

The tower shall be completely orange only on nights of Thanksgiving football victories.

The Tower shaft shall be white and the observation and column decks orange on the following occasions:

On nights of football victories other than Thanksgiving.

On nights on which an unqualified Southwest Conference championship is won in baseball, basketball, track, swimming, and team championships in tennis and golf.

On nights when no football, baseball, basketball, tennis, or golf match is played, but The University of Texas wins the Southwest Conference championship.

On nights of NCAA team championships in track, swimming, tennis, or golf.

On nights of victories in NCAA championship playoffs in basketball or baseball so long as the team is in the running for the National championship.

On Easter.

On the night of graduation exercises.

On March 2, April 21, May 8, July 4, August 14, November 11, and December 25.


The Tower shaft will be white with the observation and column decks alternately orange and white on the following occasions:

On nights of "tie" football games.

On nights when The University of Texas ties for the first place in Southwest Conference championship meets in track or swimming.

The tower shaft shall be white, the observation deck white, and the column deck white on nights on which a football game, basketball game, or baseball game is lost, but The University of Texas wins or ties for Southwest Conference football championship.

(For those who feel confused already, we advise that this article be clipped and carried for consultation on nights when the Tower is orange or any of its combinations for no obvious reason.)

Mr. Eckhardt explained that this schedule would undoubtedly prove unsatisfactory to many people, but he felt that if exceptions were allowed, chaos would result.

For example, he recalled the case of a student who phoned his wife at 2 o'clock one morning to ask why the Tower wasn't orange.

"Why should it be?," Mrs. Eckhardt demanded.

"I just won a big pot in a dice game," the voice on the end of the wire promptly answered.

"I envy his luck, but I doubt that it would have much significance for most of the students here," Mr. Eckhardt said. "And that is fundamentally what the lights are for--significant occasions. Therefore, we shall use them accordingly."


The dispute over the orange lights arose last spring, when the lights were not turned on for the University victory in the consolation match of the NCAA national championship basketball tournament. A committee headed by Mr. Eckhardt was appointed to determine when the orange lights should be used, as no definite policy had previously been set.

Daily Texan. October 8, 1947.
Article by: Blake Miller

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3 May 1999
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